McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

FOG Hike is small event with big results

By Hope Kamin, F.O.G. Hike organizer
Published: May 22, 2008
FOG Hike
Back Row: Kelly Edge, Rachel Edge, Lisa Edge, Leanne Laing, Kristi Ward

Front Row: Chris Bonney, Lisa Bonney, Spencer Dunham, Cameron Bonney, Sara Edge, Kellye Ward

As it does for many others, the annual F.O.G. (Friends of Glen) Hike has intensely personal meaning for Leanne Laing and Lisa Bonney.

The hike, which raises money for the McMaster University Bone Marrow Transplant/Leukemia Research Fund, became a family affair for Leanne and Lisa after the death of their mother, Kathy Edge, in April, 2006.

Kathy, described by her family as always healthy, active and "full of life," was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in the spring of 2005 at age 49.

"The day we found out the diagnosis, all our lives changed," says Leanne, an administrative assistant in McMaster’s Department of Family Medicine.

Family members immediately tried to find ways to help.

"We all donate blood, but we thought there must be more," says Lisa, an administrative assistant in the university’s Clinical Learning Centre. "We all joined the bone marrow registry to make sure that we would be available, in the event we could help just one life with our bone marrow," she says.

Leanne, Lisa and a number of other family members, including Kathy’s grandchildren — Spencer, 11 and Cameron 6, — joined the F.O.G. Hike in May 2007. And they plan on joining the crowd again this year — on Sunday, May 25.

"We have done cancer walks before, but had not found a walk specific to leukemia in our searching.  Then we found the F.O.G. Hike. What a great way for us to give back," Leanne says.

"Mom died on April 13, 2006 so she wasn’t there in body, but we know she was there pushing us up the hill and proud of us every step of the way," Lisa adds.

The F.O.G. Hike takes place on a beautiful part of the Bruce Trail in Dundas. It is named in memory of my husband, Glen Ferguson, who was a dedicated Bruce Trail hiker. Glen, 52, died in March, 2000, during his battle with acute myeloid leukemia. The hike, which I like to call the small event with the BIG result, is organized by me, through the McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences advancement office.

Last year, 142 hikers raised $33,000, the biggest total since the hike’s inception in 2002. In total, the F.O.G. Hike has raised $130,000 and has become the single biggest annual contributor to the McMaster University BMT/Leukemia Research Fund. The fund, which is administered by Drs. Irwin Walker and Brian Leber, is used for start-up research, staff education and patient care.

For information about the hike, please see our website at www.foghike.org, or e-mail me at info@foghike.org. Pledge forms are also available in the Faculty of Health Sciences advancement office, or on Ward 3Z of MUMC.

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